What do learning how to ride a bike and pursuing an internship have in common? At their core, these activities are part of the process of learning by doing, formally called experiential learning. Experiential learning can happen in a classroom, in a laboratory, on a study abroad program, or in your own backyard. It is the way that we deepen our understanding of information learned from textbooks, newspaper articles, and the internet. Often, this allows us to transition from a solitary pursuit of knowledge to a more collaborative one. Through experiential learning opportunities, we can explore real-world consequences of policy decisions, identify local solutions to global problems, or use new observations to change old patterns of thinking – all while developing a stronger sense of self. Here at BU, there are many ways to engage in experiential learning:
Engage in Research
The main program that aims to facilitate research participation at BU is the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Not only does this program help to educate students on the wide variety of research being conducted on campus, it also provides funding opportunities for students who secure research positions. While not a funding opportunity, the Cross-College Challenge (XCC) is a credit-based course that places students on cross-college teams to work towards addressing a real-world problem through research projects.
Secure an Internship or Fellowship
Internship and fellowship positions are available for both undergraduate and graduate students at BU. The Graduate Writing Fellowship is a great example of how GRS doctoral students can gain hands-on experience providing support to undergraduates in the CAS Writing Program. If you are more interested in innovation and entrepreneurship, Innovate@BU has several positions for everyone from incoming first year students to recent alumni.
Explore On-Campus Leadership Positions
If you are looking for ways to work closely with a specific BU department or office, consider exploring on-campus leadership positions. From Resident Sustainability Leaders to Prevention Educators at the Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center to Community Service Center Program Managers, there is a wide variety of opportunities no matter what your major or interests.
Remember, there is no right way to engage in this kind of learning. Different options will be a good fit for different people. The important part is to get started!